This Propane Stoves For Camping article looks at some of the important features of a typical portable gas stove that is generally used outdoors on camping, hunting, or fishing trips and other outdoor events.
The close relationship between freestanding and tabletop designs and the differences that will make your outdoor cooking a success.
There’s nothing quite like a juicy steak on a barbeque plate under a starry sky, or a steaming cup of coffee in the morning before breaking camp.
If you want to bring along the best appliance to take care of preparing every meal from breakfast to dinner on any outdoor adventure, then a portable propane stove is what you need.
This article is about some of the foremost features I like in a stove, these are features that you should check closely at if you are looking to purchase a portable stove for your backcountry holiday or your back patio.
The right stove is crucial for easily prepared delicious meals, the wrong stove will be a total pain.
Freestanding or Tabletop:
This is your first choice and one that only you can make, consider where and when you will use it most and how many people are you cooking for.
Typically a day at the beach or tailgating at the game with a few family members will only require a small tabletop unit, while a large family gathering or club meeting may require a larger freestanding model.
Tabletop stoves have the convenience of being lightweight and portable, some only several pounds in weight and folding down to the size of a small briefcase.
These are easily carried and quickly set up and will provide a good cooking appliance without the frills.
Freestanding units are usually used for overnight stays and longer camping trips and also for larger groups of people. They are much bulkier, therefor heavier, and not something you would carry any distance.
They really come into their own as a complete kitchen set up in a campsite. Some have many useful accessories that can provide a whole range of menu choices.
One thing about any equipment is that it has to be reliable, and something you are able to count on when you need it.
This is no different for a portable stove, it has to be reliable and I need to be confident that it will start and work properly each time I set it up to cook something.
Nothing worse than getting to a campsite and finding your equipment does not want to work correctly.
Let’s face it who hooks up their portable propane gas stove to check that it is working every time you pull it out from the garage to go camping, no, you just throw it in the car and away you go.
Good quality gear regularly serviced and well maintained will give you good reliable service for many years.
But, one thing to check each time before heading away on any trip, make sure your gas bottle is full or has enough to cover your duration away from any refill point.
My equipment must be able to stand the test of time as well as take some rough treatment from time to time so the build quality has to be a high standard.
If you purchase a stove that is flimsily built using poor quality materials and workmanship you are wasting good money.
You will be far better served by buying one high-quality stove that will last a decade or more rather than an inferior product that may be lucky to last a half a dozen trips.
A good durable stove made by a reputable manufacturer will give you great value.
The size and heat output of the burners are extremely important to me.
This from Wikipedia; “The British thermal unit (Btu or BTU) is a traditional unit of heat; it is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit”
This is well and good but that fact is that a poor low powered flame is going to struggle to stay alight in the slightest of breeze and the reality is that there is normally always some wind when we are outside.
I prefer a stove that is a minimum 20,000 BTU each burner, this will provide me with a good strong flame that will boil a pint of water quickly or heat a barbecue plate hot enough to cook a delicious sizzling steak.
It will handle a stiff breeze and still provide enough heat to cook a meal. A good high output flame is easy to cook with and makes cooking a pleasure, a small flame that doesn’t provide sufficient heat is time-consuming and very frustrating.
With steady and precise temperature control, this will allow even heat distribution and also enables you to not only boil water or food quickly if needed and to heat a griddle plate easily, but also simmer other foods gently so as to cook them to perfection.
Wet matches are a nightmare when it comes to igniting your stove, you just might go hungry. So at the very least I always have lighters handy and I mean several of them. No matter if I am on a road trip or just camping beside a river, I carry at least one in the car.
I have one in the kitchen drawer of the trailer plus I have one in the food storage containers. The stove is an integral part of camp so when it is time to light it up I am always prepared.
The best ignition is an electronic or piezo electronic ignition, this is a fantastic addition to any appliance.
I have had these igniters on a couple of different appliances that I owned for over 7 years and they still worked perfectly. They are simple to use, extremely well built and will last a long time.
One very good appliance I own with a piezo ignition is the Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System.
Electronic piezo type igniters sometimes add an extra cost to the purchase of any gear but they are well worth the money spent.
They are very reliable and not having to dig into a wet matchbox or scratch around looking for lighters make this component very convenient, I believe they are an excellent feature of any stove.
Most portable gas stoves come with windscreens attached, usually of foldable design, these are a useful and convenient addition to the stove.
Windscreens help keep the wind at bay and protect the flame so as to achieve maximum cooking heat from the power output.
Guarding a small flame against any breeze is essential and a stove with a low power output will only give a very poor performance at best if the wind blows and interferes with the flame.
With any portable outdoor gas stove, these flame protecting screens are indispensable.
These units are extremely versatile and able to be adapted to many different functions or activities and can be used in a multitude of scenarios, from Camping, Hunting, Tailgate parties home barbeques or any other outdoor event.
Another important design feature some of these stoves have is their ability to cook a variety of food with the use of interchangeable cooking accessories.
For instance, a small steel plate laid over the burners on top of the grill of a small stove allow you to cook steaks to perfection and barbeque meats and many other foods.
Then some of the accessories available are a pizza box, griddle plate, dutch oven, and others.
These add on accessories for some stoves can create the potential for some amazing dishes and this versatility means a one-stop station for all your outdoor cooking needs.
If your comparing different stoves in your research for a good camping and outdoor stove be sure to take note of the list of features I have pointed out and compare apples with apples.
Some people wrongly try to compare these stoves with the ultralight little things that fit in your pocket, these have totally different uses and not to be confused with a real camp stove for multiple people.
I have written in-depth reviews on my choice of the 2 stoves that will prove to be all that you need for any outdoor cook up, take a look below, they will provide you with all the information you need to find the solution you seek.
The Best Outdoor Cooking System Outland Summerland Portable 3-Zone Camp Stove
My Final Word
There are a lot of stoves other than the ones I have picked above, however, you won’t find a better, more powerful portable stove than the Outland Summerland which I talk about in my article Best Camping Stoves.
For the person looking for a small tabletop picnic stove, don’t go past the Coleman Classic 2-Burner Stove.
Yes, this is my opinion but I have owned and used many portable stoves over many years including the units mentioned and if you want the best, now you have them.
Each one will give you the stove you need for your individual needs and culinary masterpieces.
If you have any more questions about Propane Stoves For Camping, I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below.
Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.